AITCAP 2023 – Program – Simplified

Simplified Version

Proudly Supported by City of Gold Coast

This page is a Simplified Version of the 

AITCAP 2023 Program for better acccess 

For more details, you can refer to the full program page or to our FAQ.


Access the program for April 28th

Access the program for May 11th


Location: SeaWorld Resort Conference Centre,
Gold Coast, Australia

Time: Friday, April 28th, 2023
08.00 am to 5.00 pm AEST

Followed by a Networking Cocktail at 5.30 pm

You’ll be welcome by our team with tea and coffee for registration from 8.00 am.

The Conference will start at 9.00 am.

After Morning Tea (at 11.00 am), sessions will be shared between the Main Room and the Second Room. You are welcome to move between rooms.

Food and drinks will be served during breaks, providing a nice setting for delegates to connect with each other. 

For accessibility information, you can refer to this page.

Sessions & Speakers


Main Room

  • Giovanna Lever (MC) – Sparrowly Group
  • Welcome to Country
  • Dr Yasmine Gray – Founding Director GetAboutAble
  • Hon. Stirling Hinchliffe MP – Queensland Minister for Tourism, Innovation and Sport
  • Mayor Tom Tate – City of Gold Coast
  • Melissa Tan – City of Gold Coast
  • Bede Fennell – Executive General Manager Tourism Australia

Giovanna Lever –

Sparrowly Group

Dr Yasmine Gray – 


Hon. Stirling Hinchliffe MP –

Queensland Minister for Tourism, Innovation and Sport

Mayor Tom Tate –

City of Gold Coast

Melissa Tan –

City of Gold Coast

Bede Fennell –

Tourism Australia

9.55 AM - It's worth it! Being accessible & inclusive is a win for your customers and your business

Main Room

Gain an understanding of the market through evidence-based insights about what accessible & inclusive tourism is, the difference between accessible and inclusive, making your business accessible, best practices and how incorporating it is a winning business strategy.

This session is sponsored by ATEC – Australian Tourism Export Council

Carolyn Childs –

Jessica Keen – 

Australian Tourism Export Council

Julie Jones – 

Travel without Limits

Martin Heng – 

Australian Tourism Export Council

10.40 AM - Don't be afraid to start! Take the first step in your accessible & inclusive tourism journey

Main Room

Build confidence in your ablity to make changes, by learning how to break down the steps so they feel achievable instead of overwhelming.

Chris Kerrisk –


Julia Svaganovic – 


Networking Morning Tea - 11.00 AM

11.30 AM - We love travelling too - Hear from travellers with disabilities

Main Room

Discover what it’s like to travel with a disability, how access requirements differ and have the opportunity to ask questions of our panellists with lived experience.

This session is sponsored by Cocky Guides

Brett Morris –

Amplify – Accessible Travel Specialists

James Kerwin – 

On James’ Desk 

James Nelson –

Traveller with Cocky Guides

Nicole Canal – 


Dane Cross –

Spinal Life Australia

11.30 AM - A destination based approach to accessible and inclusive tourism - A case study in Queensland

Second Room

Learn how to bring together information, transport, accommodation, attractions, dining, public infrustructure and marketing campaigns utlising the ISO Standard 21902 accessible destination criteria as demonstrated by Queensland to build an accessible & inclusive destinaiton.

This session is sponsored by TravAbility

Andrew Illingworth –

Gold Coast Tourist Parks

Chantel Maclachlan –


Kate Barr –

Destination Gold Coast

Laz Herrera –

City of Gold Coast

Bill Forrester –


12.15 PM - Inclusive employment ‐ Opening up opportunities for the tourism workforce

Main Room

Accessibility isn’t just for your customers, it extends to your entire business including employment. Discover the advantages of hiring people with disabilities from those leading the way.

Andrea Comastri – 

Hotel Etico

Carla Giuca – 


Lynda Ugarte – 


Giovanna Lever –

Sparrowly Group

12.15 PM - Improve your social media accessibility and engagement through understanding assistive technology

Second Room

What are assistive technologies? Where are they used? Who uses them? How are they used? Why are they used? Gian will talk about the importance of assistive technologies and then show how they are used and demonstrate how these work with social media networks such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. She’ll explain how social media can be made accessible to people with disabilities – whether they are using assistive technologies or not.

Gian Wild –


Lunch - 12.45 PM

1.45 PM - Unlocking the visitor journey - How to provide the right accessibility information

Main Room

One of the most important steps to being accessible is making sure people know about it! Learn about how to share your accessibility information with your customers, and how to make sure it’s in a format that’s accessible to them.

Frances Riggs –

Latrobe Community Health Service

Yann Charavel –

Supported Travel eXperiences (STX)

Ryan Smith – 

The Access Agency

1.45 PM - Remaining competitive - How accessible tourism can positively position destinations

Second Room

One of the key industry and academic frameworks for conceptualising destinations is the Destination Competitiveness and Sustainability Framework. This session explores the framework for industry practitioners, identifies the key components of the framework for accessible tourism and shows the connection to triple bottom line sustainability practices, while examining the relative strengths and areas for improvement. 

This session is sponsored by VisitCanberra

Dr Alison McIntosh – 

Auckland University of Technology

Dr Brielle Gillovic – 

Auckland University of Technology

Simon Darcy – 

University of Technology Sydney 

Tracey Dickson – 

University of Canberra

2.15 PM - Small things, big impacts

Main Room

Improving access & inclusion isn’t always expensive, discover the power of low cost initiatives to make big impacts, and learn how these can benefit you.

Sandee Facy –

Hidden Disabilities Sunflower ANZ

Emma Gallagher –

ASPECT Australia

2.15 PM - Enhance your visitor experience by getting started with digital accessibility

Second Room - (This is a workshop that will last 1h15)

This workshop will share tips and tricks for your websites, either building yourself or questions to ask web design companies and explore how PDF accessibility has progressed to become a necessary part of achieving a comprehensive accessibility strategy.

Amanda Mace – 


Bri Norton – 


2.45 PM - The Impossible is Possible: Adventure Tourism for All

Main Room

There are no limits to what can be made accessible. Learn about some of the barriers to adventure tourism and how these organisations have made these seemingly inaccessible activities accessible & inclusive for all.

Belinda Harris – 

University of the Sunshine Coast

Glen Fozzard –


Mike Brigg – 



Peta Wittig – 

Phillip Island Nature Parks

Adam Sheppard – 

iFly Ambassador

Networking Afternoon Tea - 3.30 PM

4.00 PM - How cultural experiences can contribute to accessible and inclusive tourism?

Main Room

A case study in building accessible & inclusive cultural experiences with industry professionals, academics, and artists working in inclusive arts engagement sharing their lived-experiences, learnings and aspirations for the sector and visitor experience to be accessible for all.

This session is sponsored by HOTA, Home of the Art

Anna Carroll – 


Dr Janice Rieger – 

Queensland University of Technology

Martin Edge – 

Artist and Autism Queensland Ambassador

Pia Robinson – 

The Culture Crusader

4.00 PM - Case Study - How co-design can help define your accessible tourism experience or product

Second Room

Discover how to build connections with the communities you want to be accessible for, and how to work with them to make a truly accessible experience.

Mathew Townsend – 

Nature Freedom

4.30 PM - Leveraging off big international events to influence change

Main Room

Hosting a city or state wide event provides an opportunity to improve accessibility & inclusion on a larger scale. Discover what’s involved, the cooperation required, the impact on the destination and the accessible legacy it leaves.

This session is sponsored by Direct Access

Gayle O’Brien – 

Queensland Government

Steven Mifsud MBE – 

Direct Access Consultancy

Tricia Malowney OAM – 

Department of Transport in Victoria

4.30 PM - How to create your disability inclusion action plan

Second Room

Learn how to consolidate all you’ve learned at this Conference into a plan on how to build your business to meet its full accessible potential.

Melissa James – 

Inclusive Tourism

5.O5 PM - Queensland Tourism Industry Council

Main Room


Main Room

Followed by a Networking Cocktail, starting at 5.30 PM

You need to register to attend this Side Event

We thank our sponsors for the day


Location: AITCAP Website

Time: Thursday, May 11th, 2023
11.00 am to 4.30 pm AEST

Followed by a Virtual Get-together for even more opportunity to CONNECT

We’ll open our Live Virtual Conference at 11.00 am AEST (Sydney time). 


There’ll be breaks every hour and a half, and you’ll be able to join at any time of the day. All sessions will include captions, Auslan interpretation and a transcript of all slides used by speakers for screen-readers.


Recordings will be made available less than 24 hours after the event to all registered attendees. 


For accessibility information, you can refer to this page.

Sessions & Speakers

11.00 AM - Welcoming Address and Welcome to Country

Rory O’Connor – Welcome to Country

Mayor Tom Tate – City of Gold Coast

Todd Bolton – GetAboutAble (MC)

11.15 AM - Defining disability, accessibility and inclusion

A module video from the Queensland Government

11.20 AM - How to use technology to accelerate the booming of accessible & inclusive travel

Here are some tangible ways to share accessible & inclusive information with your potential visitors and customers

The lack of reliable information about the level of accessibility and inclusivity of tourism destinations and services is one of the main barriers for would-be travellers with access requirements. This represents a lost economic opportunity for tourism providers. In this session, we welcome entrepreneurs that have tackled this problem and share how technology can help make that information available and extend significant long-term value to all visitors, including those living with a disability.

Camilo Navarro –

Wheel the World

Maxine Parker –

Access Ability Australia

Meegan Winters –

Able Eyes

Anna Wright –


11.50 AM - Case study: Mobility Mapping on the Sunshine Coast

A case study on using technology to improve accessibility and how it benefits both your community and your visitors

This session perfectly illustrates how technology can improve access and how this, in turn, can benefit both the local community and tourism visitors. It is a project led by the Sunshine Coast Council, another great leader of change in Queensland. 

Evelyn Murphy –

Sunshine Coast Council

12.00 PM - The Importance of Accessibility in Travel Awards: A case study of the Japan Travel Awards

What are the benefits for a destination of celebrating organisations that promote access and inclusion?

Why was accessibility introduced in the Japan Travel Awards in the first place and how did it take the lead in the awards? Why is it crucial to have accessibility as a primary category in travel awards? The discussion will include Ally and Seiya Hongo, the founders of the Japan Travel Awards and Josh Grisdale, a leading Japan-based accessibility advocate and consultant and a judge for the Japan Travel Awards.

Ally Hongo – 

Shiitake Creative & Japan Travel Awards

Seiya Hongo – 

Shiitake Creative & Japan Travel Awards

Josh Grisdale –


BREAK 1 - 12.35 PM

12.45 PM - How an Accessibility Champion can lead effective change in your business

How will having accessibility champions around ignite change in your tourism organisation or destination?

Chris Veitch and Jane Cooper explain the role that inclusive tourism champions play at the national, regional and local levels within both the political and business arena to influence and support change. They argue that this change has to run deep and be a cultural change within Government and the private sector so that eventually Champions become redundant because we ensure that all development in the public realm and private business is based on universal design and service principles.

Chris Veitch – 

Access New Business

Jane Cooper – 

Access & Inclusion UK

1.15 PM - A Time to Change - Campaign strategies to get industries moving

What are the 6 key success factors to run an efficient campaign for change towards more accessibility and inclusion in the tourism industry?

Nina Smith from TravelPaws and Michele Erwin from All Wheels Up discuss a topic relevant to all who are considering change, both big or small, and whether they work in their own organisation or as part of a company. They will be sharing with us two significant industry change initiatives they are both championing and the six critical success factors these have in common. 

Nina Smith –


Michele Erwin – 

All Wheels Up

1.40 PM - Misconceptions and unconscious bias

A module video from the Queensland Government

BREAK 2 - 1.45 PM

1.55 PM - How can accessible tourism intersect with medical health and wellness tourism?

Let's talk market potential and how making your destination more accessible will help you cater not only to people with disability but to an even bigger share of the population

One of the “sister-markets” for accessible & inclusive tourism is medical health and wellness tourism. Our panellists argue that accessible travel is part of the patient journey, be it medical health or wellness, and that given the demographics of those travellers, taking accessibility and inclusion into account can greatly benefit tourism providers and destinations. 

Dr Elizabeth Ziemba – 

Medical Tourism Training

Michelle Massey –

Amplify Travel

Fred Maahs, Jr –

Maahs Travels

2.25 PM - Approaching accessible and inclusive tourism in the Asia-Pacific region

Don't take our word for it, trust your peers! A travel operator, an accommodation provider and a national tourism organisation share their journey towards accessible & inclusive tourism and how much benefit it brought them.

Across the Asia-Pacific region, the travel and tourism industry must change to be more inclusive and accessible in order to be sustainable. In this session, we share how destinations can remove any social and physical barriers that may prevent travellers with accessibility needs from fully participating.

Ewan Cluckie – 


Syed Abd Rahman – 

Diveheart Malaysia

Veneranda Mateo –

 Lolo Inggo Private Resort

Pankaj Pradhananga – 

Four Season Travel & Tours

BREAK 3 - 3.00 PM

3.10 PM - Inclusion Training for Accommodation Providers

Everyone can offer a level of accessibility. Clear information about how accessible your premises is, shared publicly with guests is the most important thing you can do.

Everyone can offer a level of accessibility. Clear information about how accessible your premises is, shared publicly with guests is the most important thing you can do. Spinal Cord Injury Australia (SCIA) and Accessible Accommodation researched and developed an online training program to assist accommodation providers to offer the highest standard of accessibility they can. They will share the key components of the training and the lessons learned in their consultations with their 3,000 members. 

Kerry Williams – 

Accessible Accommodation

Rob Wynn – 

Spinal Cord Injury Australia (SCIA)

Suzie Stollznow – 

Spinal Cord Injury Australia (SCIA)

3.45 PM - Communicating with everyone by keeping things so simple and easy to understand

A big part of your potential visitors read at a primary school level or below so come and learn how to communicate clearly to them with Easy Read Toolbox

The Easy Read Toolbox aims to make communication of all kinds easier to read for the over 50% of Australians who read at a primary school level or below. Founded in 2021, the Toolbox provides self-paced membership to learn and write in Easy Read and easy to understand ways to connect with your community, and bespoke consulting services to assist you in being more inclusive and accessible.

This session is sponsored by The Easy Read Toolbox

Karen Hedley – 

The Easy Read Toolbox

3.55 PM - Designing Accessibility - Start with compliance, design for inclusion

What are the benefits of including people with disability as your future clients and users from the design stage of your projects?

We’ll be exploring ways you can improve your design process to create better, accessible and inclusive spaces with Ileana Rodriguez, Principal at I Design Access and architectural designer consultant for a number of projects, including the Olympic and Paralympic Infrastructures.

Ileana Rodriguez – 

I Design Access

Julia Svaganovic –


4.15 PM - Case study: Putting access at the core of your accommodation design with Lower Laurel Farm

A case study on how designing with accessibility in mind can change the game for your business

Jenny Goddard from Lower Laurel Farm shares the reasons she chose to design and manage a truly accessible accommodation option as well as the challenges she faced and the benefits she got in doing so. The design for their Coastal Cottage and Mountain Lodge enables everyone to be at the centre of the activity, to be able to relax, to enjoy downtime and be fully involved in all the activities including doing the dishes….no excuses.

Jenny Goddard – 

Lower Laurel Farm

4.25 PM - Presenting the new Accessible Visitor Guide to the Gold Coast

Gold Coast - A City where Everyone is included

4.30 PM - Closing Address

Followed by a Virtual Networking Event at 5.00 PM

Details will be sent to registered attendees

We thank our sponsors for the day

We thank our incredible Conference partners